An Epistemological Archaeology of the Concept of Economic Order

The paper addresses, from a logical and epistemological perspective, the concept of order, in general, and the concept of economic order, in particular. For this purpose, the phenomenological "window" is used by which the subject (both cognitive and praxiological) knows or ”creates” economic objects. From the methodological point of view, the study proceeds, first, to identify the predicates of sufficiency that the concept of order implies. Next, an epistemological mechanism for the detection, putting into evidence, and qualification of an empirically given economic order is introduced and qualitatively examined. The paper is maintained within an abstract approach, following which subsequent research directions establish relevant classes of economic orders, both from an intellectual perspective (that is, who uses the subject's intellect) and from a praxiological one (that is, who uses the sensitive ”endowments” of the subject).
JEL Classification A14, B41, Z00
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1. Preamble

In essence, the entire knowledge is not else than an establishing of classifications, that is, of orders. With some precautions, this statement is valid too for the praxiological or practical relationships in the society. Consequently, the social order or the economic orders are among the most important topics to be examined in order of understanding or managing these fields. Paper proposes a way to approach the economic order from an epistemological perspective. In fact, even without highlighting this as such, any economic theory puts at its philosophical bases an implicit order, of epistemological nature – for example, liberal-ism edify its intellectual construction on the supposition of free (and ”rational”) functioning of markets, Keynes-ism does the same based on the government ”care” for economic equilibrium, institutionalism proceeds by embedding the order into an institutional framework, and so on. The economic order contains and provides the basic principles both for understanding and for managing an economic system. That is the context in which the present paper is elaborated and put into economists’ community debate.

2.Paper’s Objectives

Paper aims achieve three main objectives: a) defining, based on sufficient predicates, the concept of economic order; b) proposing an intellectual mechanism to detect/reveal an economic order by the observational (i.e., cognitive) subject; c) clarifying the distinction between cognitive competence and the performative competence in relation with the economic order.

3. Methodology

Methodology used to study the objectives assumed is, par excellence, a logical one. This means the concepts, mechanisms, and explanations provided in the paper are logically based, formulated, and, if the case, validated/verified. Although this method is very strong from scientific point of view, it has, of course, the deficiency of being too abstract. However, I think that any first approaching of a scientific topic must be abstract and general, then, of course, becoming possible, exactly from this reason, to go further by particularizing and specifying the general results on contingent or historical cases.

4.Research Organization

The research is organized into three paragraphs, embedded by the section called Discussion: 1) the general concept of order, then particularized to the economic order case; 2) how ”detect” an order and, particularly, an economic order? 3) which are sufficient conditions to be verified by for the observational subject so it be able to perceive an (economic) order.

5.Basic Discussion

5.1.An Introduction

Generally, there are three kinds of objects: a) object in self (OIS) – what in the theoretical philosophy is called noumenon (the concept - and the associated term - was coined by Kant in its Critique of Pure Reason (Kant, 1998); b) object for self (OFS) – what in the theoretical philosophy is called phenomenon; c) object as self (OAS) – that is, the subject (). Any of the three kinds of objects above mentioned, can be examined from three qualitative perspectives: a) as things (T); b) as properties (P); c) as relationships (R). The OISs will be ignored, because they cannot be known than by a subject outside the constraints of biological body, that is, outside the constraints of senses (or of idiosincratic sensitivity). So, remain two categories of things (OFSs and OASs). The OFSs can have own properties and can get relationships with other OFSs or with OASs. Similarly, while the OASs can have own properties and can get relationships with other OASs or with OFSs.

Logically and psychologically, the first observational events are focused on the relationships. Then, based on the perceived relationships, both properties and things as such are rather inferred, although, through the filter of relationships, they can be also directly perceived (but, I repeat, by intermediation of the illuminating provided by perceiving relationships).

5.2.What is an Economic Order?

An order is a configuration (of any kind), on an entity (of any kind). Such a configuration can be: a) a spatial configuration; b) a temporal process; c) a structural pattern; d) a functional algorithm, etc. It must be said an order does not exist without a subject to observe it, although a configuration from those evoked (and others possible) can stands for the entity concerned. So, an order is, in other words, put by the subject itself. But, to put such an order onto an entity, the subject in case must recognize in a someway that order. To recognize it, the subject must be endowed with a previous list of possible (or already met orders) with which it to compare the presumptive order observed within the entity being under observation. It results that an order is an ”agreement” (better said, an overlapping) between the thing observed (perceived) and the items registered on the observational subject’s list of orders.

The same judgment is valid for a species of order, namely for the economic order (Paul, Jr and Paul, 2010), with the only difference that the entity concerned is on of economic nature – economic system, economic process, or economic event. This time, the observational subject must have a list registering of the previous known or met economic orders, so can compare the new observation on the economic entity in case with the items contained in the list of economic orders.

As we shall see below, there is the possibility to consider an observation being an order although it is not on the list of orders, so arising one of way in which the list both appears and is enriched (the so-called recognitions of economic order by projection or by imagination). All the ways to identify the economic order or to enrich the list of economic orders are examined and clarified in the next paragraph. Of course, economic order can be discussed inside a given institutional border (as the national economy), as well as at international level (Louka, 2020).

5.3.How can be Detected an (Economic) Order?

To perceive the relationships qua relationships, implies recognition of such relationships. Such recognition can happen in two and only three ways: a) by anamnesis (here in the sense of Platonism, but excluding the metaphysical distinction between Ideas and things considered as shadows of Ideas.); b) by projection (this is seen in, somewhat, a positivist sense, not in Husserl-ian transcendental one at all.); c) recognition by imagination.

(a) recognition by an-amnesis (RBA)

Recognition of the relationships by anamnesis is done when a subject perceives a relationship which it (he or she) has perceived before at least once and, of course, if that perception can be brought into the memory. Generally, such a recognition is considered a natural one, because it corresponds to natural „endowments” of human being (Gesell, 2007). It must be mentioned that RBA is always an aware recognition, although a sub-conscious recognition could happen – the last case will not be taken, however, into consideration because the complications involved are greater than the illuminating ensured. It is obviously a regression an infinitum is generated in such a case: any recognition requires a perception, but any perception is a recognition which requires a perception and so on. How can we get out of this vicious circle? Here it must be introduced an originary perception - with the appropriate precautions, the originary perception can be considered by analogy with the originary position in Rawls’s theory of justice, when the individuals who search and state the principles of a fair society are under the ignorance veil - (a perception of degree zero) which doesn’t require recognition – such an originary perception is the ostensive one, that is, the perception happens by intermediation of a recognition transfer (RT). The easiest case to understand the perception by recognition transfer happens in childhood period. A just born child has never perceived something. For the first time when s/he get inter-actions with a given OFS, s/he doesn’t recognize that perception, of course. In such a case, another subject (usually, a relative – in the most cases, mother) ostensively indicates either an object, or a relationship among objects and say a name for that relationship. In its memory, the child always will associate the name heard to the relationship in case. So, it seems that the RBA requires a memorized list containing all past perceptions of relationships. All such items in the list – we propose the list be named list of transferred perceptions, LOTP – are acquired under two cumulative conditions: a) by imitation; b) by language. Indeed, the recognition transfer implies an imitation of another subject, taking over his/her indications, and such an imitation resides, ultimately, in naming something. Of course, the majority of subjects verify the first condition only, because they do not perform the language, but the subject of interest for us – the human being – acquires the transferred perceptions by associating them with verbal labels. Once the LOTP formed, the subject will recognize the perceptions (and will associate them with relationships perceived) if and only if they are „written” in LOPT. It can be put the question: the LOTP contains only transferred perceptions? It seems the answer should be affirmative. However, let’s examine the following case: at a moment of time, the subject is put into the situation in which s/he has a perception (for example, a relationship among OFSs) but this perception is not contained int LOTP. Principled, the subject could not have that perception as recognition. Also principled, we could think that the subject will seize something acts on his/her senses and, consequently, will name the unknown perception. In other words, the subject which already has a LOTP can complete it without the recognition transfer. Such perceptions are based not on recognition transfer but on invention of the involved subject. How is it possible? In my opinion, this possibility arises based on the following „mechanism”: somewhat, the perception is (automatically) compared with the items in LOTP. Since that perception is not in the list, based on the existing items, the subject will approximate, by analogy, symmetry, opposition, etc. the new perception as some kind of relationship and, in the most cases, s/he will name that relationship. This way, in fact, LOTP constitutes the base for new items regarding relationships which form a separate list which can be named list of built perceptions (LOBP). So, the two lists must be considered as forming together the list of direct perceptions (LODP), that is, . LOTP must be considered, globally, as the set of an-amnesiac perceptions as relationships regarding the OFSs. Chronologically, the subject pass through two stages in the context of recognition by anamnesis: a) the primary stage – when recognition is only of recognition transfer nature –, and we could name such a subject as natural non-autonomous subject (); b) the secondary stage – when the recognition could be also relatively autonomous, that is, the subject can do recognition based on already acquired LOTP – we could name such a subject as natural autonomous subject ().

Before analyse the recognition by projection, it is useful to briefly sketch two issue regarding the recognition by anamnesis: 1) the truth of perceptions generated by recognition transfer; 2) the truth of perceptions generated by invented perceptions (the issue of the truth of perception (more general, of knowledge) will be detailed approached further).

(1)the truth of perceptions got in the first stage of the subject () is not guaranteed by the simple transfer of recognition. No matter if the external holder (the relative or another member of the community) of the capacity to recognize perceptions (namely, the relationships among OFSs), who transfer the recognition based on his/her own list of perceptions is sincere or liar. The LOTP records the new item, which is considered eo ipso as true. The testing of the truth rests with the receiver of recognition transfer;

(2)the truth of perceptions got in the second stage of the subject () is identical, from the point of view of truth guarantee, with that from the first stage. The items introduced in LOIP by the subject him/herself has to be tested for their truth. Of course, it is obvious that the is always be sincere when s/he introduces new such items into LOIP, otherwise the subject in case have already would has disappeared.

(b)recognition by projection (RBP)

Recognition by projection is the third stage () of forming the list of perceptions regarding the relationships among OFSs. This type of recognition is based on the capacity (if is there) of the subject to elaborate abstract and general models of the reality (either transcendent or transcendental) – for example, scientific theories, metaphysics, religions and so on. I do not develop here the details regarding the content of the stage three of forming the list of perceptions, but it is important to mention that, while stage 1 is totally depending from the community, and stage 2 is totally depending from the subject him/herself, in turn, stage 3 is depending both from the community and the subject. No matter if a given subject contributes or not to elaborate the set of models on the world, it is sufficient s/he knows those models (the degree in which a given subject knows about these models is, of course, important for the social practice, but here it is not of too much relevance).

So, recognition by projection works as follows: the subject knows about the world, more specifically, about OFSs, by intermediation of his/her theoretical elaborations about the relationships the OFSs develop. In fact, these theoretical elaborations (models) simply form a third list of relationships, which we should name list of projected perceptions (LOPP). When the subject faces a potential relationship, the reality is confronted with this list. More exactly, this confrontation is a projection of the relationship the third list exhibits on the reality which is liable to contain that relationship. If the projection overlaps (the degree of this overlap is ignored for the moment, but further I come back on - see, for this case, the considerations of Phenomenology regarding the transcendental construction of the intentional object, by perceiving it from different angles of view – Husserl (Husserl, 1994) provides a detailed explanation based on the concept of epokhe, that is, by putting into parentheses the natural attitude of the subject in his/her intentionality) the passible relationship, then that relationship is recognized, if not, the relationship is not recognized. For example, till the theory of general relativity be proposed, the relationship between physical mass and the space-time, or between physical mass and the space curvature was not recognized (i.e. observed as such), because that relationship had not been entered the third list of the subject (or, equivalently, because that theory or model on the world didn’t exist). More the third Popperian world (I remind that the third Popperian world is the world of the objectified content of the mind - including, inter alia, the theories and the institutions) is richer, more the third list of relationships among OFSs is richer and, consequently, more relationships which are recognized by projection is richer (Popper, 1978). The recognition by projection exhibits some characteristics:

· the third list of recognition grows with the age (Figure 1 suggests such a kinematics regarding the three stages of the subject, or, equivalently, the kinematics of the three corresponding lists of recognition regarding the relationships among OFSs);

· the third list of recognition has a logistic shape (see Figure 1), it begins to convexly increase from approximately the half of juvenility, with an inflexion point at the intersection with the third list curve and continuing concavely till its asymptote (in fact, all the three lists have asymptotes, no one from them totally disappearing);

· the third list reaches the maximum of its extension within the old age period, when the other two lists are already asymptoted;

· within childhood period of the subject, the first list and the second one coexists, then, in the juvenility period all the three lists coexist – the first in decline, the second in convexly increasing, and the third beginning its convexly increasing – while, within maturity period, the first list is asymptoted, the second list is concavely decreasing, and the third list combines its convexity and concavity in its growing.

Figure 1. The quantitative kinematics of the three lists of recognition, correponding to the three stages of the subject

Source: author’s construction

(c) recognition by imagination (RBI)

Recognition by imagination is a free construction of perception, done by consciousness, and based concomitantly and an in an inextricable way on RBA, RBP, reveries, desirabilities, dreams, phantasms, and impulses of the will to deconstruct and reconstruct the transcendent the subject faces with. The perceptions of such a type do not constitute a separate list, their existence is ephemeral (transient), although a certain remanence into memory could happen. Since such perceptions never come into transcendent reality, they are not testable in the same sense in which the perceptions which entered the three evoked lists do. Consequently, they are, principled, not recognizable at all and, in time, are forgotten or unpredictable reshaped. Such false perceptions could, however, have great significance and could be very productive either for artists of any field or for politicians – both must to bring into reality something that does not exist (for example, in the latter case, the social utopias). Figure 2 shows a general phenomenology of the three types of perception recognition.

Figure 2. Phenomenology of the three types of perceptions recognition

Source: author’s construction

6.Other Punctual Discussions


6.1.The Ambiguity of the Priority between Relationship and Property

I said before that, in order to perceive the properties of OFSs, the subject must firstly perceive the relationships leave a room for discussion regarding the evoked problem of the priority between „the egg and the hen”. It is the moment to provide some additional explanations:

·indeed, the subject can directly perceive only the relationships, but the relationships are possible, obviously, if and only if certain properties of the OFSs involved are present (here subsists the interesting idea of serial regularities – something happens if and only if certain conditions (for example, certain properties) are matched. The idea of the serial regularities could be found, inter alia, at French philosopher J.P. Sartre or at Romanian historian A.D. Xenopol.);

· consequently, the primary properties will be derived by the subject by the intellectual mechanism of passing from the effect, i.e. from relationships, to the cause, i.e. to properties (this is, by the way, the standard mechanism of the explanation);

· the chain through which the objectified relationships generate new net (that is, births minus deaths) properties, and, subsequently, the new objectified properties generate new net relationships continues without any troubles.

6.2.About Ontology of the Relationships

No matter which is the list of recognition in case (LOTP, LOBP, LOPP), all perceptions regarding the relationships among OFSs are of empirical evidence. The subject will delete, from any list, any item which is rejected by his/her experience, either it is direct or (in the case of sophisticated theories as Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, Psychanalysis and so on) indirect. Consequently, the relationships perceived by the subject must be considered as being into existence, so having an ontological statute (the complication introduced by Heidegger through requiring that before a scientific - or empirical – in my opinion - grasp of an object, that object be phenomenologically grasped, will be ignored here, as irrelevant for the purpose of discussion). Of course, based on the ontological statute of relationships, the property of objects (which are perceived as result of perceiving the relationships assigned to them) must be considered as having also an ontological statute (to be mentioned that the ontology addresses the reality. By reality we understand three distinct (but not un-correlated at all) components: a) the objective reality, equivalent with world 1 of Popper – completely independent from the subject (we ignore here the subtleties of Transcendental Phenomenology regarding the construction of the transcendent through the subject’s intentionality); b) the subjective reality, equivalent of world 2 of Popper – completely dependent from the subject; c) the objectified subjectivity reality, equivalent with world 3 of Popper – dependent from the subject as emergence but independent from the subject as functioning. The concept of the done, from philosophical existentialism, adds to the concept of reality above described the relationships (and, as results, the properties) generated by imagination (including the phantasms). As said before, there is a kind of perceptions based on imagination (the RBI perceptions) which completes the three lists of perceptions, but such perceptions cannot have ontological statute. Principled, any of RBI perceptions will be, sooner or later, rejected by empirical confrontation with the reality).

6.3.About Grounding of the Relationships

Alongside the issue of ontology, the relationships perceived must be examined from the perspective of their grounding. Which are the relationships based on? In my opinion, such question could be answered as follows:

· the potential grounding of perceptions is the causality. The causality is not about causes, but about the impossibility of any relationship among OFSs without a given cause (no matter neither it is unknown nor even it is unknowable). The grounding of perceptions (which, as we have saw above, primarily come as relationships) on causality is logically equivalent with the Leibnizian principle of the sufficient reason – every effect must have a cause. The causality, as absolute (i.e. unconditioned) principle is not depending on the subject capable to use it in order to get perceptions, it is „there” by the simple fact of existence of Universe. We do not know a more general principle about the world except the principle of causality. Consequently, given the primitivism and the generality of the causality, it is instituted by belief. The causality principle cannot be verified, once instituted, because no other principle, more general and more primitive doesn’t exist to function as benchmark. The principle of causality is a necessary principle, so it is completely predictable (The famous demon of Laplace is, of course, perfectly possible and, if it would exist, it could make complete and cert predictions of the world relationships and properties spiralled chains);

· the actual (i.e. effective) grounding of the perceptions is the intelligibility. Unlike the principle of causality, the principle of intelligibility is not absolute (unconditioned). The intelligibility emerges only once a subject does exist, and it is the more relevant as the subject has a higher degree of consciousness. As having an actual (effective) nature, the intelligibility must be an actualization of the potentiality of the causality(The concepts of potential/potentiality and actual/actualization/actuality have here their Aristotle-ian definitions).

· but such an actualization is depending on the constitution of the subject involved. We are not (and, probably, we cannot be) sure that the subjects, for example the human beings, actualize by intelligibility the entire causality. If such an actualization seems obvious to be strictly included in the causality, another question arises: the human beings could actualize the entire causality? So, in the case of the intelligibility, we have again two parts: a) the potential intelligibility – assigned to the natural (and, of course, artefactual) capacities which the human beings are endowed with; b) the actual intelligibility, which has a historical character. In other words, the intelligibility as actualization of the causality is, in its turn, a potential intelligibility, and an actual intelligibility (so we have a potential actual, and an actual actual). Implying subjects, the intelligibility has some additional inalienable features:

Øthe subjects imply the contingency. Logically, the contingency () is the exclusive conjunction of the possible () and of the non-necessary (): . So, once the subject enters the world, the necessity (which was, until that, the only modal way of Universe) „gain” a companion, namely the contingency;

Øthe contingency means a choice the subject makes among the relationships which are possible and non-necessary, but such a choice can be made only for the praxiological (subject – object) relationships, or for practical (subject – subject) ones, never for the theoretical (object – object) relationships;

Øthe contingency doesn’t infringe the causality, but only infringes the determinism. By determinism must be understand the… necessary contingency. We have saw that the contingency is, by definition, not necessary, so to affirm the determinism as the necessary contingency is, obvious, a contradictio in adjecto. So, the determinism must be reserved for the necessary relationships only, which means the contingent part of the world is not determinist (or, equivalently, is indeterminist) – there is an enthusiastic propensity to confuse the indeterminism with the non-causality (see, for example, the case of Quantum Mechanics – Heisenberg’s imprecision). In fact, no matter if a relationship is or is not deterministic, it is always causal. Neither the „solution” of statistical causality (that is, of the mix between necessary and contingent) do not exclude the causality, it „dilutes” the determinism only.

Figures 3 and 4 suggest some clarifications regarding these issues.

Figure 3. Structure of the world related to the structure of intelligibility

Source: author’s construction

Figure 4. Causality, subject and intelligibility

Source: author’s construction

7.Results and Conclusions

Principled, the order is neither completely ontological nor completely gnoseological, but rather it is a projection of the gnoseology on the ontology or, likewise, a gnoseological ”approval” of the ontology. The economic order verify all the order’s attributes when the entity concerned is of economic nature. Mainly, the paper introduces the logical ways in which an order is recognized or, if the case, introduced in the world, namely the three such ways: 1) by anamnesis; 2) by projection; 3) by imagination. For these ways of ordering to work the priority of the relationships are stipulated against the properties and the things themselves. In fact, it is shown that the access of knowledge (so, of the practice or pragmatics) to things or their properties, it is needed the relationships be firstly identified and clarified.

The order (and, correlatively) the economic order, are artefacts of the observational subject and it is of interest both theoretically and practically. It seems, at a higher (and more abstract) level of analysis, that the very causality could be thought as subsequent to order – in other words, that causality is, really, caused by the order, not vice-versa – but this subject, extremely provocative and exciting, will be approached in future papers.

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  4. Louka, E., 2020. The Global Economic Order: The International Law and Politics of the Financial and Monetary System. Cheltenham; Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Pub.
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© 2021 The Author. Published by Sprint Investify. ISSN 2359-7712. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License
Corresponding Author
Emil Dinga, Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania
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Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania